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Heather Forsyth on loyalty rewards in pharmacies

CALGARY, AB (May 2, 2014): Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth issued the following statement today on the Alberta College of Pharmacists’ decision to ban inducements such as loyalty rewards on prescription drugs and services effective June 10:

“My Wildrose colleagues and I are disappointed by the College’s decision and we are concerned about the impact it will have on consumers.

“We believe this decision will ultimately hurt thousands of seniors, families and individuals – especially those on modest incomes – who are chronically ill and need prescription medication to lead healthy lives.

“While concerns expressed over the notion of purchasing unnecessary drugs to obtain rewards may well be legitimate in a small number of cases, we are convinced there are less intrusive ways to deal with them instead of scrapping rewards programs all together. Under the Health Professions Act, professions such as pharmacists are organized into self-governing regulatory bodies responsible for setting standards for professional practice. When the interests of these bodies collide with the interests of Albertans, it is incumbent on government to explore a solution.

“There is still time to arrive at a resolution that addresses the College’s ethical concerns while respecting consumers’ rights. I am calling on Health Minister Fred Horne to sit down with the College to determine what can be done to avoid the detrimental impact this decision will have on consumer choice.”